Before we talk about logistics of financial aid, let's consider some important statistics. The average amount of debt carried by 2012 law school graduates was $84,600 for public school graduates, and a whopping $122,158 for private school graduates. Not a big deal because you'll be rolling in the big lawyer money after graduation, right? Not exactly. The adjusted mean starting salary for 2012 law school graduates was $75,554, with 51% of graduates making between $40,00 and 65,000 annually and 16% making $160,000 (For more detailed information, click here). If you are in the majority of graduates with a salary under $65,000, paying back that debt can be a hefty endeavor.
“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” John F. Kennedy
“Crisis” is certainly an appropriate word to describe the current state of the legal profession. Over the past ten years, the number of licensed lawyers in the United States has increased 20% and sixteen new law schools have opened their doors. Legal employment, however, has not grown at the same rate.
Why is your GPA so important to law school admissions officers? There are two primary reasons: 1) a good GPA demonstrates both your intellectual ability and your willingness to work hard, and 2) studies have shown a positive correlation between strong undergraduate GPAs and law school performance. What you might not know - but should - is how your GPA is presented to law school admissions officers.
What exactly does the LSAT test, and is it a fair measure of someone's aptitude for the study of law or potential for success in the legal profession? In order to answer these questions, I attended a two-day LSAT prep course as the guest of Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. It's been over 30 years since I took the LSAT, and I honestly didn't spend enough time preparing for it. Now that I advise F&M students who are considering law as a profession, I figured it was time to reacquaint myself with an exam that is the only common attribute for all law school applicants.
“Is this a good time to go to law school?” This is the question I posed to Prof. Ben Barros, a professor at Widener Law School, when he was at F&M on Tuesday to teach his first day of property law – often the very first day of class for first-year law students. His answer: “This is the BEST time to go to law school – for someone who really wants to be a lawyer - in 30 years. Applications are down nationwide, and it’s likely that in three years, the economy will be stronger.”